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Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA) Meeting

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

September 14, 2005



Staff Present: Ted Bradstreet, Steve Greeley, Terry Hathaway, & Leslie Manning.


Staff Absent: John Rioux


Members Present: Sharon D’Orsie (USM), Carol Eckert (MIOHE), Ruth   Lawson-Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jonathan Lepoff (Consultant), Kim Lim (Bureau of Labor Standards), Desi-Rae Mason (Bureau of Health), Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health), John Newton (OSHA), Cathy Schultz (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health/Bureau of Health).


Members Absent: Peter Crockett (MLGH), Peter Doran (ALAM), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Saskia Janes (Maine Public Health Association), Ginger Jordan-Hillier (DEP), Louise Morang (MAOHN), & Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association).


Guests: Michael Rowland (Maine Migrant Health Program) & William Peabody (Maine Bureau of Labor Standards)



Jonathan Lepoff called the meeting to order at 9:05 A.M.


Approval of June 8, 2005 Minutes.  Ruth Lawson-Stopps made a motion to accept the minutes of June 8th as written. Carol Eckert seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous


Introductions were made.


Medical Only’s Update – Steve Minkowsky. Steve handed out the “Initial Findings of Medical-Only First Reports”. This was based on a study done by MEMIC (Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company) and Steve Minkowsky of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board in May of this year. MEMIC has an extremely good database and they are pro-active. MEMIC has 65 percent of Maine’s market for employers and insurance companies. This study is based on the dates of injury from 1998 through 2003. Spreadsheets included in this study are: All Indemnity Claims, Migration Time, SIC Group Totals, Governing Class Totals, Governing Class Totals, IW Class Codes, and Nature of Injury Totals.


Steve reviewed the observations and opportunities as well as the recommendation, which reads as follows:


            “Based on the observations and opportunities described above, further study

             of the collection of medical-only First Reports is merited in order to reduce

             the number of lost-time First Reports, to reduce the number of indemnity

             cases and to reduce the associated costs to the workers’ compensation



Leslie Manning stated that MEMIC is on board and that we are seeing significant results and that MORA should do a “road show”. Also suggested as that MEMIC be invited to MORA.


Steve Minkowsky stated that the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group is mandated to have an annual report due to the Legislature on January 1, 2005 as well as a follow-up on January 1, 2006.  Where do we go with this? Why?


Ruth Lawson-Stopps said the medical-only first reports are key rather than lost time first time reports. Ivan Most felt that it is critical to get medical-only data as a perfect example for MORA to make a statement.


Carol Eckert asked about the status of the report to the Legislature that the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group. Bill Peabody responded saying that the report should be final at the next meeting of the work group, which will be held Wednesday, September 21st.


Ruth Lawson-Stopps indicated that MORA needs to continue encouraging to move as quickly as possible for medical-only first reports.  Ivan Most added that the longer an injury goes, the worse it is (severity).


Leslie Manning said that the work group report needs to be submitted to the Labor Committee to convince them that it is useful information and if we are going to use medical-only first reports as indicators, we need to do a “road show” with the insurers to show them that it is cost effective. She further added that we start working with those programs already out there (i.e., MEMIC). Steve Minkowsky said that MEMIC is willing to do that. Ivan asked, “Could there be more than just MEMIC?”


Leslie Manning suggested that perhaps there could be more representation on MORA from the larger companies (i.e., Cianbro, Hannaford, BIW). Steve Minkowsky suggested they could testify to the Labor Committee. Also, the “road show” could be three one-half day sessions (Portland , Augusta, and Bangor) starting in the spring, using the MEMIC model.


September 25th to 27th is the Workers’ Comp Summit at Sugarloaf.


Leslie Manning said that the work group should take the lead as soon as they’re ready and should include education and MORA sponsor roles with the Bureau of Labor Standards and Workers’ Compensation.


Ruth Lawson-Stopps informed the group that The Workers’ Compensation Coordinating Council is holding its annual meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2005, 8:30 A.M., at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Along with Ruth, Leslie Manning and Jonathan Lepoff will be attending this event.


Continued Discussion of MORA:


Interpretation. Leslie Manning informed the group that Gwen Thomas, Assistant Attorney General, has been assigned extra duties; therefore, no interpretation is available at this time.


Summary of Discussion with Commissioner Fortman. Leslie Manning has had discussions with Commissioner Fortman of the Department of Labor as well as with Jane Gilbert, Deputy Commissioner. The summary is that what MORA has is what the Governor’s office would like to see; i.e., provide guidance, focus on the spotlight, etc.


            Update. Ruth Lawson-Stopps and Leslie Manning provided a brief report, “MORA, the Future, Thoughts and Recommendations”. Along with this is the MORA Agenda, Research, & Process. A copy is included with the minutes. The major points are:


Ø      MORA will be one organization, hosted by BLS

Ø      Membership will be loose.

Ø      There will be an Executive Committee – Chair, Vice Chair, Program Chair, and Finance Chair.

Ø      There will be a Program Committee – responsible for working with MORA to identify two to three specific research topics a year.

Ø      There will be a Finance Committee – responsible for identifying ways in which funds for research will be shifted from a funding source to the researching party.


Ivan Most made a motion to accept the report. Carol Eckert, seconded the motion. Vote to accept the report was unanimous.


So far, MORA has the following volunteers for the Program Committee:


                        Ivan Most

                        Leslie Walleigh

                        Desi-Rae Mason

                        Sharon D’Orsie


So far, MORA has the following volunteers for the Finance Committee:


                        Carol Eckert

                        Leslie Manning


Ruth Lawson-Stopps will work with Steve Minkowsky on getting data regarding medical-only 

first reports through other insurance companies.


Other. Kim Lim was asked to provide the MORA Conference Summary. As for the financials, the cost of the conference was $20, 272.75. Kim is to e-mail the evaluations to Terry Hathaway, who will e-mail them to MORA.


Ruth Lawson-Stopps thanked Kim Lim for putting the Conference together.


Leslie Manning handed out the Bureau of Labor Standards’ SafetyWorks! class schedule for this Fall. Of interest, is a new class, “Workplace Response to Domestic Violence-Advanced Course”.  Leslie reported that there should be a survey of employers on domestic violence and its effect on the workplace. Ted Bradstreet will follow-up.


Leslie Manning received an e-mail for a two-day course, sponsored by Yale University called, "Coping with Work and Family Stress: A Workplace Preventive Intervention”. Terry will forward the information to MORA.


Next Meeting – Wednesday, October 12, 2005.


Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 11:28 A.M.


Respectfully submitted,



Terry M. Hathaway